Urinalysis

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Urinalysis or UA is an examination of the urine which involves tests to measure and identify various compounds in the urine. This test is commonly ordered by medical doctors to help screen for and diagnose diseases such as diabetes mellitus and urinary tract infection or UTI.

Basic phases of urinalysis

  • Physical color and appearance - The first phase of urinalysis is done through visual observation. Color and clarity are observed. Fresh, normal urine is usually amber in color and clear. Cloudiness may be caused by disproportionate protein or cellular matter in the urine, crystallization or salt precipitation. Red or red-brown color may come from food dyes, drugs or presence of hemoglobin or myoglobin.
  • Microscopic appearance – The urine sample is observed under a simple microscope to examine cells, mucus, urine crystals, bacteria and other microorganisms or substances that may be present.
  • Chemical appearance – A simple paper or plastic dipstick is used to verify the different substances in urine. The dipstick method is the most cost-effective way of identifying substances through little pads of chemicals which change color once they come in contact with these substances. Although urinalysis machines are available these days to test for these substances.

Risks

There is no risk or discomfort involved. The test only requires normal urination.

References

  • Urinalysis. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (Accessed 21 December 2010.)
  • Urinalysis. (Accessed 21 December 2010.)